President Hennigan assures “inclusive community” amid election response

Written By Josh Croup, Editor-in-Chief

Point Park President Paul Hennigan sent an email to Point Park faculty, students and staff members Thursday afternoon discouraging hateful speech and discrimination amid the recent responses to the 2016 presidential election.

The response comes days after Point Park faculty members wrote a letter petitioning the university to address a number of concerns regarding the aftermath of the election. The petition received more than 375 signatures.

Hennigan’s response is below.

A Message from President Hennigan

To All Members of the Point Park University Community,

As you know, the recent election was one of the most emotionally charged in our lifetime.  Reports of aggression and hateful speech have been reported at some schools, and many students, faculty, and staff feel vulnerable as a result.  I am writing to you today, therefore, to assure everyone at Point Park University and every member of our extended community that we are an inclusive community dedicated to student learning and the free exchange of ideas within a respectful and safe environment.

Before and after the election, Point Park University has ensured that all students, regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, physical ability, and political affiliation have equal access to education and safety.  Everyone is welcome here and we strive to support our students as they work to achieve their academic and professional goals.  Our staff in Student Affairs support our students when they face challenges, and our faculty are devoted to helping all of our students think deeply and critically about national and community issues.

Hateful speech and aggression toward one another will not be tolerated on our campus.  We are proud of our peaceful campus, and so I ask that you report any incidents to Campus Security by calling extension 2222 from any campus phone, or from your cell phone, call 412-392-3960 for immediate attention.

Point Park University will continue to be an inclusive community free of intimidation and discrimination.  Those who feel particularly unsettled as a result of the national elections and more recent events are welcome to talk with our resident mental health professionals in the Counseling Center.  For an appointment, please call 412-392-3959 or email [email protected].

As members of a University, we must all strive to listen to one another, work together toward common goals, be respectful of individual and group differences, and support everyone’s right to form and live by strongly held personal beliefs that do not infringe upon others’ rights to be part of a safe, inclusive environment.  Faculty, students, and staff are encouraged to engage in civil conversations both in and out of class about recent national and local events and our personal and collective responses to them.  Those who would like to participate in ongoing conversations on campus should contact any of the following:

Keith Paylo, Vice President of Student Affairs: [email protected]

John Pearson, Provost: [email protected]

Lisa Stefanko, Vice President of Human Resources: [email protected]

I thank all of you for helping to make Point Park University a model learning community.